A decade-old allegation of sexual misconduct has come back to haunt one of Ulster County’s most prominent lawmen, leading to criminal charges and a potentially career-ending scandal.In rereading this whole article (which I encourage you to do), I'm struck by several points. While it doesn't come right out and say it, there are hints that this could turn out to be a very ugly scandal that could receive national attention.
On June 28, Town ofUlster Police Chief Matthew Taggardwas arrested and charged with a single misdemeanor count of official misconduct.
First, it appears everyone knew that Taggard had been accused of sexual misconduct. But, given that there was no proof, Taggard skated. In fact, he continued to advance his career without a hitch, becoming a lieutenant and eventually chief.
But then this bombshell drops. And now those old rumors are starting to take on a more tangible shape. Which is why I find it odd that DA Carnright said this:
Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright and other officials have been tight-lipped about the allegations against Taggard. In the June 28 press release, Carnright stated that the official misconduct charge was based on an allegation that Taggard “was aware that sexual crimes were being committed in an adjoining jurisdiction and failed to take any steps to prevent same or to notify the appropriate authorities.”Okay. Covering up a crime committed by someone else, while awful, isn't exactly the same as committing the crime yourself. But it's certainly a career-ending mistake for someone like Taggard.
But in comments following Taggard’s arrest, Carnright said the charge was rooted in an earlier investigation of the veteran lawman by state police. According to the DA, the allegations against Taggard surfaced 10 years ago and involved criminal sexual misconduct with underage victims. At the time, state police investigators conducted a number of interviews but never made an arrest.
But later in the article Town Supervisor Jim Quigley appears to spill the beans:
Quigley said that after learning about the arrest, he had opened his own inquiry into Taggard’s tenure with the department, including requesting records related to Taggard’s work with a police cadet program. According to Quigley records show that Taggard was the advisor of a Police Explorer post linked to the Town of Ulster Police Department between 1995 and sometime between 2002 and 2005 when the program ended. The program is a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America and provides mentoring and experience for youth ages 14 to 20 interested in a career in law enforcement. Quigley added, however, that his examination of the records shows no evidence of wrongdoing related to the Explorer program. Indeed, the post received a number of grants through the state Department of Criminal Justice Services and other sources, Quigley said.So, why is Quigley looking into an old Explorers program if all Taggard did was obstruct justice in another jurisdiction? And the Explorers program, unless I'm mistaken, is exclusively for boys (someone please correct me if I'm wrong about this).
“I have no knowledge of any complaints and no one that I’ve spoken to can recall any complaints,” said Quigley.
So, which is it? Did Taggard help a friend evade, say, a statutory rape charge? Or, was he somehow using his position of power in the same manner as Jerry Sandusky used his? There's a very big difference between these two potentials.
And then there's this:
Carnright, meanwhile, said Monday the investigation into Taggard remains active and that the case might end up before a grand jury, which could weigh felony charges in the matter.This is pure speculation, but it's just possible that the charges against Taggard stem from the fact that an old victim has come forward (which makes sense given the media attention the Penn State coverup has received; people feel emboldened when they see others standing up to demand justice), which would would dovetail with the fact that Quigley is looking into the old Explorers program.
Let's hope this turns out to be much ado about nothing. But I get the feeling we're going to be hearing a lot more about this one.